Welcome to my Edifier X3 TO-U Review. I covered the original Edifier X3 recently in a review and now I’m back covering the TO-U series. The TO-U series offer a similar set of features when compared to the original X3’s. One major difference is the fun colour options Edifier have made available.
There’s the addition of a CVC noise cancellation mechanism as well as some other modest design tweaks. That’s enough of an introduction, let’s get into the review and find out what I think of these stylish, fun wireless earbuds. We’ll start the review in my usual manner, first impressions.
I like to start with my first thoughts, because as a consumer you know almost the instant you see something if you’re going to like it or not. It’s sort of a real world test.
Oh, before I forget if you wanted to check out the piece I wrote for the original, hit the link here: Edifier X3 Review.
Edifier X3 TO-U Review
I always try and keep my first impressions short and sweet and rarely do I succeed. There’s so much information to take in when seeing a new product for the first time. Do I like the colour? How do I feel about the overall look and feel etc. It takes me a while to get my thoughts down into a couple of concise paragraphs. The Edifier X3 TO-U was no different.
When I got the email asking me if I’d like to take at look at these I opted for the pink, thinking they’d be a bit different to the usual greys, blacks and whites. They are vastly different and I don’t really like the pink if I’m being completely honest with you. In the flesh it looks a bit lighter than on the photos. The pictures make it look at bit more of a pastel pink and I think my dislike comes from the fact that I thought they’d be a couple of shades darker than they actually are.
Single Use Plastic
It’s not all doom and gloom though. I particularly like the fact that Edifier seem to be listening (or at least reading) what I write in my reviews. There is a fantastic reduction in the overall volume of single use plastic! There’s really only two very small bits of single use plastic in the entire box. The first is the tray that the holds the case and earbuds and the second is a tiny plastic bag that contains the spare silicone ear tips. They’re not 100% plastic free, but it’s a great step toward the tech industry become more eco friendly.
An alternative to the plastic tray is simple, a cardboard one. It’d be a lot better and I’m sure it wouldn’t add too much to the cost of each unit to re-manufacture it in cardboard, if anything it might even be cheaper.
Outside Of The Box
I also think the box design is well thought out; the slide to open style box is not one I see much of anymore, so it’s a nice touch. It also feels like really good quality cardboard, leading me to believe that if the earbuds got thrown about a bit during transit, they wouldn’t get damaged.
Overall, whilst I don’t really like the colour, my first impressions aren’t too bad and I’m certianly looking forward to getting to grips with how these perform at their primary job, playing music. Let’s take a look at one of the most important factors in a headphone review, the sound quality.
According to Edifier, they’ve improved the bass response on the TO-U Series. But, when testing them both side by side I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two. I decided I’d do a blind bass test so to speak. I asked my wife to help me understand which one had the better bass. I asked her to close her eyes whilst I played the same song through the original X3’s and the TO-U series ones. It was the same result, she couldn’t tell either.
I’m sure they have tweaked the bass response, it’s probably just an ever so slight tweak that my amatuer audiophile ears can’t quite pickup.
Whilst we’re on the subject of bass, listening to an album by Isaiah Rashad the bass responds well, we have to remember that the X3’s are’nt overly bass focused. Just like the original’s the bass is punchy yet not too over the top to outshine every other sound element in the song, it’s well balanced and rounded.
The treble is decent enough and probably where most of the focus is. It’s certainly on par with the first edition and again I couldn’t really hear any discernible difference between the two. It sounds pleasant enough though and if I had the chance I’d tweak them via a software equaliser. Midrange is fine too with instrumentation sounding natural, balanced and smooth.
Vocals are an area where the X3’s also excel, I don’t recall commenting on it on the original review, but performers voices sound crystal clear and I had no trouble at all hearing those often underlying song elements. For example, I could really hear the ad-libs and background effects behind the main vocal track in the recording.
I also wanted to test if there was any latency whilst watching videos or movies. I launched YouTube on my phone and loaded up Syndicates daily vlogging channel. Watching one of his vlogs was also a perfectly pleasant audio experience, there wasn’t any latency issues between audio and visual.
Overall the sound quality is exactly what I expected it to be for a pair of totally wireless earbuds at this price point. If you want better, you’re going to have to spend £30 / £40 more on top of the base price and then you’re in the price bracket for something like the Edifier TWS NB2 Pro.
Let’s take a look at the build quality then. Another area where I’m expecting these to pass with flying colours.
Edifier X3 TO-U Review Build Quality
As I expected, these are really well built. Pretty much perfect for the price point, I can’t pick a fault with anything in the build quality at all. Edifier have mastered the art of designing headphones with range topping build quality.
One observation I did make though and I don’t know if I’m imagining this or not, but I actually feel it’s built slightly better than the original offering. The charging case plastic feels a little thicker and there’s a satisfying snapping noise when closing the lid.
As well as this, when popping the earbuds into the charging case it feels a bit tighter, so maybe these have been ever so slightly re-engineered. However small the changes, there’s almost certainly an improvement over the original set.
Now for a strength test. I opened the charging case and tried fairly hard to bend the lid all the way back, there was a bit of give and if I tried as hard as I could, it definitely would have broken off. In terms of a real-world test though, I think these would be fine for daily use.
I also performed my ‘scratch test’. I grabbed a letter opener and ran it down the side of the plastic case, it left some mild scratches but they didn’t seem to actually damage the surface, it just left an ever so slight mark. Chuck them in the bottom of your backpack, sit on them and generally throw the day to day abuse at them and they’ll come out smelling of roses. They may pick up a few scratches along the way, they don’t feel as robust as the NB2’s that I reviewed recently but I’m confident in the build quality and I think they’ll last a fair old while.
Features & Design
The Edifier X3 TO-U Series look exactly the same as the Edifier X3. In fact I think they’re literally the same design apart from the charging port. Which means it has the same ultra-compact charging case that’s so minimalist and sleek you can slip it into your front, back, or that little side pocket you have on a pair of jeans that nobody knows what it’s for! Probably a pen knife.
The charging port has now had an upgrade to USB-C which I was delighted to discover. The use of USB-C means they’re actively thinking about future proofing their devices.
The next major difference is the colour options. These are available in either a pastel pink or a blueish colour. In hindsight I should have asked to check out the blue pair as I think (and I’ve only seen pictures) the blue look far better.
With the same impressive battery life as the X3’s it means you’ll get a solid 6 hours battery life on a single charge and you’ll be able to recharge them three times via the case. They’re not fast charge enabled, but it’ll charge up in a respectable 1.5 hours.
Waterproof or Weatherproof
They’re described as being waterproof on the Edifier website, but I think they’re more like weather and sweat proof. They have been given an IPX5 waterproof rating, but that rating only extends to the earbuds. The charging case is not rated, so please keep that away from water, weather and sweat.
In terms of design I really like the clean, compact, sleek and overall look of the clamshell case. The front of the case is featureless, the top of the case features the Edifier logo and on the back is where you’ll find the USB-C port. On the inside of the earbuds you’ll find the two copper charging contact points and the silicone ear tip. The outside edge of each earbud has either an X or an O depending on which earbud you’re looking at.
They’re also quite comfortable, I wore them for a 30 minute run and they remained cosy and snug. They didn’t move much and I imagine this will be the case for most people. I’m not sure on how the comfort would be for extended periods, so you’ll have to take solace in the fact that they’re fine for 30 minutes, they should be fine for longer periods too.
That snug fit also helps to reduce background noise, including a fair bit of wind, but not all. For active noise cancelling, you’d need to go for something like the TWS NB2 Pro’s.
User Friendly Controls
The controls are simple and easy to use, they’re exactly the same as they were on the original model. Here’s a re-cap if you can’t remember:
- Tap once to play/ pause music
- Tap twice on either earbud to skip a song
- Tap three times on either earbud to return a song
- Hold either earbud to activate the voice assistant on your phone
The controls work on both earbuds which means you can still play, pause, skip a song or answer a call when only wearing one earbud. The touch controls are really responsive and there isn’t any noticeable input lag.
Where To Buy
You’ll be able to buy these from your usual tech stores aswell as Edifiers own mall which you can access here. You’ll get a generous 1 year warranty with your purchase.
Use code “EFANCOOL” to get 25% off storewide at mall.edifier.com. Valid until 30th August 2021.
You can of course also buy these from Amazon. We have an affiliate link you can use if you’d like to support the blog. You can use our affiliate link by clicking here. It won’t cost you anything extra but will help pay for the server costs which, due to the amount of traffic we’ve had recently, is getting quite expensive!
Summary and Verdict
I don’t really understand the target market for these. Aside from the build quality improvement and that may be just me remembering the original X3’s wrong, there isn’t any differences at all to really speak about. I feel like Edifier have tried to do something fun and quirky but basically all they’ve done is rebranded the X3’s to make them a bit more ‘His or Hers’.
In my opinion, they should have just kept with the X3’s and re-launched some new colourways, as that is pretty much what they’ve done anyway.
The score was a weird one for me. I do honestly believe the build quality has improved ever so slightly, but I don’t think that warrants an additional point being added to the overall score. So it’ll have to a 9, as it was before.
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The Edifier X3 TO-U was given to us in order to write our Edifier X3 TO-U Review.